March 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Nadya Mariam Ponce, WORT-FM

Nadya Mariam Ponce helps as a radio presenter on WORT's En Nuestro Patio ENPA, a Spanish language radio program that is produced by a team of volunteers and has become an important part of WORT. She is also one of the organizers of Madison's first Latinx community cycling club, BiciClub Latino de Madison. Ponce supports strongly the LatinXs on the Trans community and is always willing to help.

Madison Metro Bus Lines Poetry Project Now Accepting Submissions

Here’s your chance, Madison, to share your poetry stories about your favorite Madison places with the thousands of Madisonians who ride the bus every day. Madison Metro Transit and Madison’s poet laureate, Oscar Mireles, are inviting members of the community to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts from longer poems, 3–15 lines total, to the 2019 Bus Lines open call for poetry. “In the past, we’ve had over 300 submissions,” Mireles tells Madison365. “The winning poems will be put either on the back of a bus or the fare card/transfer card. Or they will be put on the ride guide, the booklet that has all of the bus schedules for the city, or on the webpage.”

Mireles is the first Latino to hold the position of Madison’s poet laureate, a position he has held since January of 2016.

Community Shares of Wisconsin to Hold Fifth Annual Big Share

The Community Shares of Wisconsin will hold their 2019 Big Share on Tuesday, March 5, marking the fifth year that the fundraising event has taken place. The purpose of The Big Share is to raise funds and bring awareness to 70 nonprofit organizations aligned with CSW’s goals to promote social and environmental justice in Wisconsin. Through the ongoing support of longtime partners and sponsors such as Madison Community Foundation, the Big Share has raised over $1.2 million for participating organizations in the past. This year, organizers hope to break past donation records with the goal of collectively raising $500,000. 

As part of the event, there will be the opportunity to match donations and win prizes. Another highlight is the creative strategies employed by participating organizations to give potential donors a sense of their mission and impact.

Frigid Winter Threatens and Unites Madison Community

In the early hours of January 26, the temperature in Madison reached minus 20 degrees due to the polar vortex. By the time Tom Wilson was walking his dog that Saturday morning in his neighborhood on Proudfit Street and West Main, the temperature had only risen to about minus 13. As he plodded through those frigid conditions Wilson noticed a man and a woman on a corner who looked to be in some distress and walked over to see if something was wrong. “Can you help me?” the woman asked. She explained she had found the man out in the cold, incoherent, and she didn’t know what to do.

February 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Ingrid Rothe, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin

Ingrid Rothe is the Chair of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s legislative committee. She is a quintessential, volunteer grassroots League leader. Her work in the nonpartisan organization includes advocating for active participation in government.

Meet the Primary Candidates for Madison Board of Education

We asked candidates running for the Madison Board of Education the same six questions to understand their vision for education in Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for what education is, was, and could be. Candidates responded to our questions over the phone or through email. We avoid using framing devices and providing context in our profiles to emphasizes the voices of the candidates.  

The election for Madison Board school board takes place Tuesday, Feb. 19. 

These are the six questions we asked the candidates to understand their vision for education: 

How do you see your candidacy as addressing issues around school culture, which we define as the core set of beliefs and values that guide a school’s routines, procedures and teaching practices?

The Bus Stops Here: Back to the Future With a New DOT

As of July 1, 2018, Madison has revived at least two aspects of its public transportation system that it had between 1968 and the early 1990s, which is both good and bad. The good is that the city once more has a functioning Department of Transportation with a director. The bad is that citizen participation is being overly limited at a time when alders need more, not less, input from constituents. Let's begin with a little bit of history. The City of Madison established a transportation department (MDOT) back in 1968.

Environmental considerations not a top priority for Madisonians replacing flood-damaged vehicles

Madison and Dane County were deluged by record-breaking rainfall in late August which resulted in flooding that caused damage estimated at more than $150 million, including hundreds of totaled vehicles. Since then, many residents have been forced to replace their cars. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Wisconsin has seen an increase in the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming decades. The trend toward heavier rainfall is driven in part by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, to which transportation emissions are a major contributor. Yet, for Madisonians replacing flood-totaled vehicles, emissions-reducing considerations like fuel efficiency and fuel type (electric, hybrid, etc.) are often of minor concern.

Poverty in Wisconsin rose in 2018, depending on how it’s measured and defined

Poverty in Wisconsin rose in 2018 even though jobs were expanding, according to the 10th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report. The rate of poverty in Wisconsin increased in 2016 as compared to 2015, despite low levels of unemployment in the state, according to the Wisconsin Poverty Measure. The official poverty rate also increased, and the market-income poverty measure, which reflects employment levels and can be used to measure economic health, also rose, even though there was job expansion in that period. Poverty in Wisconsin by the Numbers
The 10th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report, released in June 2018 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), revealed that poverty in Wisconsin rose by 1.1 percent between 2015 and 2016 to 10.8 percent. The official poverty measure places poverty at 11.8 percent and the market-income poverty measure is at 23.2 percent.

The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County will celebrate 10 years of Hearts for Helping

The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County will celebrate 10 years of Hearts for Helping, its  second-largest annual fundraiser, on February 8. The semi-formal fundraising event will showcase wine and cheese from across Wisconsin and feature both silent and live auctions, as well as live entertainment. Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Club 2019 academic and recreational programs. This year’s proceeds will support the Club’s summer programming and the outfitting of the Club’s new location in Sun Prairie. The event’s theme, A Storybook Celebration, highlights the expanding future of the Club and its achievements in Dane County. “Not only is it, celebrating ten years of the event, but also, it allows us to really talk about the story of the club, the story of a child going through all of our programming,” said Alex Murray, director of special events for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.